I should have taken Saturday off to play radio. I missed most of the NAQP, SSB Contest because of time spent at work, not necessarily working (all of 90 minutes at the console). I was able to VNC to my ham shack and get some of the prep work done prior to the start of the contest. This was the first contest I used Win-Test to tabulate my QSOs and score. I was introduced to the software during 2008 RAC Winter Contest at N6RO. I am rather impressed with the program and what it offers, so much so I purchased a full copy of it yesterday. Thankfully my 2 week trial period was not expired and I was able to finish out the contest using Win-Test.
As for the NAQP this was the first time I spent more than a few minutes spinning the dial looking for SSB contacts. Up to this point SSB was one of my least used modes of operation mainly because of the small station I operate. With that said, I had a great time trying to dig out some of those hard to hear stations. Although the propagation was up and down, I did come back to a few contacts I could not hear as I went through the phone portion of the band on 20M. With only a few hours of sunlight by the time I arrived at home, the band was not all that productive for me. I wish I could have spent a few more hours prior to loosing it.
On the other hand, 40M was great and yielded the majority of my QSOs. Using the spotting software I was able to see where my next contact was coming from, which aided me, as I started low and spun the dial from 7.125MHz to 7.300MHz. Many of the contacts I made on 20M I was able to make on 40M, which was nice, as well as adding some states, like Alaska only after sunset.
I did pass up the opportunity to work at N6RO using N6ML. I really wanted to get a good start on my SSB contacts for the ARRL Triple Play award. Looking at the results I believe I only worked 27 states and 3 provinces. N6RO had plenty of operators, so I took a pass on operating there. I guess I am somewhat torn during a contest weekend. I want to work on my personal achievements and goals, but at the same time I want to participate with a great group of contesters. Guess I will need to get weekends off again.
All in all I had a great time! I was able to use my new Alpha Delta DX-EE multi-band wire antenna. Wow! What a difference it made for some contacts. The antenna was much quieter than the 6-BTV and I would find myself switching back and forth during transmission to get the best signal going out and quieter conditions so I could hear the receiving station. It worked rather well and I was able to dig a few states out that I would not have otherwise scored.